Landis Gardens at the Bull’s Head Inn

By Louise Polli

In the heart of Cobleskill sits the state­ly Bull’s Head Inn, believed to be the town’s old­est build­ing. Erect­ed in 1802, the inn had been closed for four years. Now it is being restored to its for­mer glo­ry by new own­ers Chris Guld­ner and Mary Sagendorf.

The cou­ple has cre­at­ed a charm­ing restau­rant with vin­tage detail and his­tor­i­cal accu­ra­cy. The build­ing dates from the Fed­er­al peri­od, a mere 50 years sand­wiched between the Colo­nial and Vic­to­ri­an peri­ods. Their ren­o­va­tions had to bal­ance the restric­tions of the building’s place­ment on the Nation­al His­toric Reg­is­ter and cur­rent code require­ments. Notable fea­tures include restored wide plank floors and wood­en beams, ornate cast iron radi­a­tors, wall­pa­per repli­cat­ed local­ly from the orig­i­nal, and a stun­ning bar built from repur­posed pock­et doors found on-site.

The inn’s exte­ri­or received no less atten­tion to details and the structure’s his­to­ry. To estab­lish a land­scape plan that would be true to the building’s ori­gins, Mary and Chris turned to the Lan­dis Arbore­tum. Susan and John Sagen­dorf, long­time Lan­dis vol­un­teers, met with the Board of Trustees to bring news of the new­ly remod­eled inn and the own­ers’ inter­est in devel­op­ing an appro­pri­ate gar­den. The project began to take shape, mark­ing the begin­ning of a mutu­al­ly ben­e­fi­cial rela­tion­ship between Lan­dis and the Bull’s Head Inn. Vis­i­tors to the restau­rant will enjoy the gar­den, while mate­r­i­al dis­played at the inn will pro­mote the Arbore­tum. Mary not­ed, regard­ing the new land­scap­ing, The Arbore­tum is such an asset to the com­mu­ni­ty. That’s what start­ed the whole thing.”

Fred and Erin Breglia col­lab­o­rat­ed on the gar­den, which includes both herba­ceous and woody plants. Research was essen­tial to plan­ning the design, as most peri­od pho­tographs were lost due to local flood­ing. Plants were cho­sen to fit the site direct­ly in front of the inn’s entrance, now enhanced by a hand-craft­ed blue­stone wall and a gas lantern accent­ing the inn’s sign. For­mal hedg­ing is the back­bone of the design, as it would have been in 1802. Fred chose Green Gem® box­wood for its supe­ri­or col­or reten­tion, win­ter har­di­ness, and low height to show­case flow­ers behind it. The box­wood then left a blank can­vas for Erin, who designed a three-sea­son dis­play of ten flow­er­ing plants with an array of col­or and fra­grance to com­ple­ment the ever­greens and the Bull’s Head entrance. These include every­thing from Sweet William and columbine to del­phini­um and thrift. Chrysan­the­mums round out the palette and lay the gar­den to bed as the last autumn leaf peep­ers leave the Schoharie Val­ley.

Mary and Chris are delight­ed with the results, and plan to post a sign cred­it­ing the Arbore­tum for the beau­ti­ful gar­den, which Fred want­ed to keep classy and sim­ple.” A small patio area may be added, giv­ing din­ers the oppor­tu­ni­ty to take in the sights and scents of the gar­den close at hand. Be sure to stop for a vis­it. You may get some ideas for your own gar­den!

For more infor­ma­tion, vis­it the Inn’s web­site at www​.bull​sheadin​ncobleskill​.com

Tap to view full size


Summer 2015

Volume 33 , Number 3

Share this

The Latest from Landis

Aug 06, 2022

Landis Forest 5K - August 6, 2022

A record turnout! Click here to view all the great photos from this event, and... read more

Jun 10, 2022 | Anne Donnelly

Don't Overlook Your Reciprocal Admissions Privilege

A sometimes overlooked benefit of your Landis Arboretum membership is the American Horticultural Society Reciprocal... read more

May 29, 2022

Scenes From the Spring Plant Sale

Thanks to our many wonderful volunteers, plant consignors, vendors, and customers, the Landis Signature Spring... read more

May 28, 2022 | Fred Breglia, Executive Director

From the Director’s Desk: Q&A, Part III

In this last Q&A session, I am focusing on leaf color change during the... read more

May 28, 2022 | Erin McKenna Breglia, Landis Gardener

From the Garden: Milkweeds for Monarchs!

Many people enjoy seeing butterflies in our Landis gardens. especially the monarch butterfly, Danaus... read more

May 28, 2022 | Anita Sanchez

Life and Death on the Lawn

It’s a beautiful summer day. You’ve finished your stack of books from the Landis... read more

News Archive